The Book of Hebrews Bible Study Chapter 12 Part 3

On to Hebrews 12:18-29

v18: In Exodus 20:18-21 the children of Israel, having just heard the expectations of G-d in regard to His people, were before Mt. Sinai and the mountain was ablaze with fire and smoke. There was the sound of the shofar (ram’s horn) and the voice of G-d speaking. The people were afraid that they were going to die and, as G-d spoke and came close to them, they said that they did not want to listen to the voice of G-d but would rather listen to Moses. They realised how far removed they were from G-d’s expectations. They rejected G-d and the great blessing that He wanted to give to them (to come near to them to transform and change them, by placing the fear and knowledge of G-d in front of them, so that they could be enabled to live holy lives).  

v19: G-d, through the gospel and the Ministry of Yeshua, has not made us experience this fearful place of fire and smoke, trumpets, and voices.  

v20: Only Moses was allowed to go up Mt Sinai. Anyone, even an animal, who touched the mountain, without being approved by G-d, would die. 

v22: But…to Mount Zion: In contrast to Mt Sinai we have been brought, by faith in Messiah, to Mt Zion (Zion comes from a word meaning excellency). 

v23: Church of the firstborn… of heaven: We have an inheritance. 

v24: New: Should always be associated with the Kingdom of G-d. 

  • Better things than that of Abel: Abel gave to G-d what was appropriate and proper. He did so by discerning the will of G-d. His sacrifice is seen as an example, a paradigm, for all sacrifices. We need to listen to G-d and respond to Him by giving Him what He wants to be given, rather than giving to Him what we think He might want.  Abel’s sacrifice is greatly esteemed and good for this age. Messiah’s sacrifice, good for the age to come, was even greater than Abel’s when He laid down His life to mediate a New Covenant. 

v25: See: This word means to watch out, to take heed, to beware. It is a word of instruction and warning. 

  • Did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth: The people misunderstood why G-d was drawing near to them at Mt Sinai and they did not want to be a part of His plan (Ex 20:18-21). It was bad when the people turned away from the revelation that came through Moses, but how much more terrible it will be if we turn away from the revelation revealed through Messiah Yeshua. 
  • Him who speaks from heaven: Messiah has spoken. 

v26: Voice then shook the earth: The earth shook when G-d gave the ten commandments. 

  • Yet once more I shake not only the earth but also heaven: The author is quoting from Haggai 2:6. Heaven and earth speak of creation. G-d is speaking here about a second creation which is the outcome of redemption, the Kingdom of G-d. G-d spoke at Mt Sinai and the earth shook, but in the future, He is going to speak again and the heavens and the earth are going to shake. The outcome of that is going to be the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d. 

v27: ‘Yet once more’, indicates: Meaning this phrase ‘yet once more’ is quoted from another place in Scripture i.e. Haggai 2:6

  • Removal (Metathesis): The noun form of the verb metatithemi: We have already spoken about these two Greek words – see Heb 7:12 – that mean ‘with’ and ‘to set’ (the implication being to set two things side by side in order that we can rightly understand the preferred/superior one. To understand the greater one, we first have to understand the inferior). This heaven and earth, a paradigm to help us to understand the Kingdom in its final form (a new heaven and a new earth – 2 Peter 3:13, Rev 21:1), is going to be shaken and will disappear (Matt 5:18). This old heaven and earth, that will shake, is set side by side with the New that is unshakeable and will remain.  

v28: We are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken: We have a sure hope.

  • Let us have grace: We are able to be a part of this Kingdom only because of grace. 
  • That we may serve G-d acceptably: In a pleasing way. Grace teaches us how to live in a way that pleases G-d (Titus 2:12)

v29: This is a verse quoted from Deut 4:24

Note: Judgement is going to be poured out in order for the New Covenant Kingdom to be established. The first world was destroyed by water, the second one is going to be destroyed by fire. Fire will consume, to everlasting contempt and destruction, those things that have no connection with His covenant. However, fire also has a purifying effect and is going to refine those, with whom He does have a covenantal relationship, for that final state of the Kingdom of G-d. 

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